Definition of yellow in English:

yellow

adjective

  • 1Of the colour between green and orange in the spectrum, a primary subtractive colour complementary to blue; coloured like ripe lemons or egg yolks.

    ‘curly yellow hair’
    • ‘It is even available in bright colours like blue, green, yellow and orange.’
    • ‘The bird's colors range from lavender and light and dark blue through green, russet, yellow and orange.’
    • ‘It's starting to get light at that time now so it was glowing this sort of orange / yellow colour against a blue winter's sky - it was MASSIVE and very low in sky.’
    • ‘It includes the full spectrum of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.’
    • ‘Smarties originally came in eight colours - red, yellow, orange, green, mauve, pink, light brown and brown.’
    • ‘Two colours from widely separated parts of the spectrum (e.g. yellow and blue) may be combined to produce white light.’
    • ‘A woman with orange hair wearing a yellow shirt and green tartan waistcoat and trousers plus three enormous poppies.’
    • ‘In her every day life, this up and coming model wears elegant and comfortable clothes in the colours of blue, yellow or green.’
    • ‘Bedrooms here are blue and green with orange and yellow day rooms featuring pictures of still lakes and mountains, which promote a feeling of tranquillity.’
    • ‘Amber is a light, organic substance that is generally yellow or orange in colour and may be transparent or cloudy.’
    • ‘Initially, the flag was created to fly eight colours; pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and indigo.’
    • ‘One had long, dirty blonde hair with piercing blue eyes, and the other had long, golden yellow hair with soft blue green eyes.’
    • ‘One of the bedrooms to the front has a built-in desk and wardrobe and a blue and yellow colour scheme.’
    • ‘It is the tail-end of the hottest summer in 150 years and a long streamer in the national colours of blue and yellow flutters in the light breeze of a halcyon September afternoon.’
    • ‘Under the light, Nick's thick blond hair glows an eerie yellow and his blue eyes flash luminously as he slowly peruses the area.’
    • ‘The floor and arched walls are covered with blue, green and yellow mosaics.’
    • ‘Although the red tomatoes were good, the green and yellow ones weren't ripe enough.’
    • ‘The two mixed together into one colour - just like yellow and blue become green.’
    • ‘The energy levels were represented from weakest to strongest: green, blue, yellow, orange, and red.’
    • ‘His distinctive racing colours of green and yellow hoops have become as synonymous with Cheltenham as the black stuff downed with such enthusiasm by his countrymen.’
    yellowish, yellowy, lemon, lemony, amber, gold, golden
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    1. 1.1offensive Having a naturally yellowish or olive skin (as used to describe Chinese or Japanese people).
    2. 1.2Denoting a warning of danger which is thought to be near but not actually imminent.
      ‘he put Camp Visoko on yellow alert’
      • ‘Bolted to the deck beside it are bright yellow warning signs about the dangers of entering a wreck, and reminding divers that they enter at their own risk.’
      • ‘There's even a couple of yellow radioactivity warning lights for sinister effect.’
      • ‘Riverside fairground bosses in York were on full alert today after the Environment Agency issued a yellow flood warning.’
      • ‘So lets just say that the blog is being written on yellow alert and I reserve the right to not say everything on the blog.’
      • ‘A five metre high fence, dotted at intervals by yellow danger signs, surrounded the abandoned car park.’
      • ‘Strapped to each one is a wooden stake with a bright yellow hazard tape attached, warning people to stay away.’
      • ‘‘There's a yellow warning light on the dash,’ I bellowed, like Michael Winner, only angrier.’
      • ‘To top it off, the flagship of stress hormones, cortisol, is running amok through my veins, putting my body on yellow alert for the day.’
      • ‘The highest alert level is red, followed by orange, yellow, blue and green.’
      • ‘The Ouse, in York, still has a yellow flood warning in place and the Derwent at Malton and Norton is very high.’
      • ‘Tom Ridge's alert level was at yellow before the warnings and it stayed yellow all along…’
  • 2informal Not brave; cowardly.

    ‘he'd better get back there quick and prove he's not yellow’
    • ‘Some of the men had gone soft and yellow and turned against them when Cartwright showed up, but that was no problem now.’
    • ‘With this yellow streak in us, where are we heading?’
    • ‘He is an ordinary candidate whose yellow streak has already shown itself.’
    • ‘I think I've found a yellow streak amidst your red, white, and blue posturing.’
    • ‘So go stand on your feet like a man, or whine like the yellow coward that you are.’
    • ‘And while yellow symbolises cowardice in the UK and US, it is the colour of mourning in Egypt and Burma.’
    • ‘You are just a goddamned coward, you yellow son-of-a-bitch.’
    cowardly, lily-livered, faint-hearted, chicken-hearted, pigeon-hearted, craven, spiritless, spineless, timid, timorous, fearful, trembling, quaking, shrinking, cowering, afraid of one's own shadow, pusillanimous, weak, feeble, soft
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    1. 2.1archaic Showing jealousy or suspicion.
  • 3(of a style of writing, especially in journalism) lurid and sensational.

    ‘he based his judgement on headlines and yellow journalism’
    • ‘Like yellow journalism, it is yellow politics and I am against it.’
    overdramatized, dramatic, melodramatic, exaggerated, overripe, sensationalist, sensationalistic, graphic, explicit, unrestrained, lurid
    View synonyms

noun

  • 1[mass noun] Yellow colour or pigment.

    ‘the craft detonated in a blaze of red and yellow’
    [count noun] ‘painted in vivid blues and yellows’
    • ‘Buildings painted brilliant yellow, ochre, red or green and not looking over the top.’
    • ‘But the traditional colours used for the art remain ochre red and yellow, shades of blue and white and black.’
    • ‘Dark green, ocean blue, metallic greys and whites, black and vibrant flashes of cobalt blue and acid yellow are the season's colours.’
    • ‘Covering less than one-thousandth of the page, along with their colour combination of yellow on white, makes them invisible to the naked eye, Crean says.’
    • ‘The schools new colours are maroon, royal blue and yellow.’
    • ‘We had a globe at home, and I half-believed that countries were actually colored red or blue or yellow.’
    • ‘I have had a lot of success using the colours red and yellow, while green and blue tend to be very slow in producing runs.’
    • ‘Behind the house is a border like a theatre set, its foreground dashed with red, yellow and blue of flowering bushes against a backdrop of a hundred greens.’
    • ‘Huge sticker-boards in bright yellow, blue and red will greet the children as they walk in.’
    • ‘Fresh look yellow has similar features, but is yellow in colour, of course.’
    • ‘In 1900 the colours were blue for France, yellow for Belgium, red for the United States and white for Germany.’
    • ‘Sami loved bikes, lived for them, so we bought him a moped, a 50 cc bike in bright yellow, his favourite colour.’
    • ‘Bright yellow in colour, smeared with splodges of red, several seemed to sprout from one stem, almost like a flower.’
    • ‘It will be the centenary year of Rotary International and the club intends having baskets of flowers in the movement's colours of blue and yellow.’
    • ‘Then there are the body colours, chili red, liquid yellow, cool blue, hot orange and for the Cooper S only, hyper blue.’
    • ‘If you're buying practical loafers, opt for summery shades of sky blue or pale yellow, as seen in Tod's.’
    • ‘An intense golden yellow in colour, the Churchill is slightly creamer than the non-vintage, with a more mature nose of dried fruit and apricots.’
    • ‘With vibrant colours - bright yellow, dark blue and fresh white - and a catchy jingle it is a commercial worth watching more than once.’
    • ‘Although different in shape and size, both are yellow in colour and many children pick up the bomblets thinking they contain food.’
    • ‘They come in the colours of submarine yellow, stadium red, quarry, and black.’
    1. 1.1Yellow clothes or material.
      ‘everyone dresses in yellow’
      • ‘To my left stood a young girl dressed in bright orange and yellow.’
      • ‘Please wear black or yellow to symbolize unity, or wear clothing that symbolizes your loved one?’
      • ‘Each morning, she would make sure Ginnia was dressed in fashionable clothes - in her favourite yellow - and always applied a touch of sparkly make-up.’
      • ‘My father had told me to have her look nice, and her blue and pink dress was much more suitable than her old yellow.’
      • ‘When Henry heard of her death, he celebrated at a banquet dressed in bright yellow from head to toes.’
      • ‘And schools, businesses and local groups are being encouraged to support the campaign by paying to dress in yellow or holding events.’
  • 2A yellow ball or piece in a game or sport, especially the yellow ball in snooker.

    ‘he missed an easy yellow in frame four’
    • ‘In what proved to be the final frame, the Scot looked set to level proceedings with a break of 53 only to miss another yellow and then find himself snookered.’
    • ‘Gyan collects a yellow for booting the ball into the crowd in protest at a decision going against him.’
    • ‘What happened in that dramatic 13th frame was that Stevens got the yellow with a lucky glance off the pink only to snooker himself on the green.’
    • ‘Team one throws out the small yellow or white target ball - the pallino - that must roll past the halfway point of the court.’
    • ‘Doherty still has a chance of saving the frame but misses the penultimate red when attempting to escape from a snooker behind the yellow.’
    • ‘Doherty made it three frames in a row after Hunter missed the frame ball - the final yellow - when leading 62-36.’
    • ‘Williams broke down on a 44 but Hunter could not take advantage as the Welshman potted a long yellow and cleared to the pink to go two up.’
    • ‘Both players managed century breaks during the match but the match finally swung in Doherty's favour when he fluked a snooker on the final yellow of the match and Stevens could not escape.’
    • ‘Ebdon had the chance to seal victory in the deciding frame after White missed a yellow.’
    • ‘Soon after, Karagounis knobbles Etxeberria and will miss their final game with a yellow of his own.’
    • ‘Frame 24: The ninth seed from Leeds fires a run of 54 but Doherty spurns a golden opportunity to claim a vital frame when he misses the final yellow.’
    • ‘I had a chance again in the last frame as well and felt like I was going to clear up, but I missed a yellow.’
    • ‘Fu looked to have had the eighth and final frame of the session sewn up, before snookering himself on the yellow.’
    • ‘He misses a yellow with just three reds left, and another long safety battle ensues.’
    • ‘Stevens looked to have thrown away the next when he missed the final yellow when 55-33 ahead.’
    • ‘But he missed the final yellow into its own pocket and Hendry accepted his reprieve to take the frame and then the match.’
    • ‘He hit breaks of 44, 43, 73 and 70 to progress to the third round, clinching the last frame on the yellow.’
    • ‘Dott comes in and makes 51-only to miss a difficult yellow.’
  • 3[with modifier] Used in names of moths or butterflies that are mainly yellow in colour, in particular.

  • 4Any of a number of plant diseases in which the leaves turn yellow, typically caused by viruses and transmitted by insects.

    • ‘Disease problems can include powdery mildew, Botrytis blight, aster yellows, leaf spots, viruses and foliar nematodes.’
    • ‘A plant with aster yellows develops weak, yellowing leaves and twisted or distorted stems and flowers.’
    • ‘Leaf hoppers spread the serious grapevine yellows and Pierce's disease and make such disease notoriously difficult to control.’
    • ‘Their research indicates that aster yellows are the primary disease concern.’
    • ‘Stunted, twisted growth and oddly distorted flowers are the symptoms of aster yellows, a disease which often shows up in midsummer.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • Become yellow, especially with age.

    ‘the cream paint was beginning to yellow’
    ‘yellowing lace curtains’
    ‘a yellowed newspaper cutting’
    • ‘There were posters for music groups and singers from ten or twenty years ago, ripped out of magazines, frayed and yellowing.’
    • ‘Finally, one turned and Julian Keats found himself looking at letters, yellowing bundles of them, all in chronological order.’
    • ‘On return to air these leaves wilted and yellowed rapidly.’
    • ‘Today she is wearing a man's undershirt, yellowed at the armpits, and pink striped boxer shorts.’
    • ‘The sun shone in through the office window, yellowing one of the policemen's trousers.’
    • ‘Although I would find them much less to my taste nowadays, I still have those novels on my shelf, tattered and yellowed as they are.’
    • ‘His thin, white hair was clumped in oily points that yellowed at the tips.’
    • ‘It was a mirthless smile, revealing teeth yellowed by smoke and neglect.’
    • ‘More and more people have decided not to put up with yellowing, stained teeth and, instead, are having them bleached into a pearly white grins.’
    • ‘A magazine rack beside the counter displayed years-old newspapers, yellowing with age.’
    • ‘The flowers were bashed and the leaves were yellowing.’
    • ‘There may be yellowing of the eyes and skin due to excessive breakdown of red blood cells.’
    • ‘He's even made the cards sepia-toned, as if they'd slightly yellowed with age.’
    • ‘Inside were a small stack of large negatives in yellowing sleeves, shot in August 1958.’
    • ‘He smiled and showed off his sharp fangs, slightly yellowed as any wild cats would be.’
    • ‘I try to keep my expression neutral and my eyes on my food, taking in all the details of the roast potato, slightly yellowed, soaked in gravy.’
    • ‘The pages are yellowing, the leather worn, but the handwriting is still crystal clear.’
    • ‘Upon returning from a short trip, I noticed that the leaves were yellowing.’
    • ‘Pairs of hares scampered and jinked in telepathically close formation; rape fields were yellowing.’
    • ‘All else was a seemingly endless field of grass, tall, yellowing and waving gently in the warm breeze.’

Phrases

  • the yellow peril

    • offensive The political or military threat regarded as being posed by the Chinese or by the peoples of SE Asia.

Origin

Old English geolu, geolo, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch geel and German gelb, also to gold.

Pronunciation:

yellow

/ˈjɛləʊ/